On MSC Seaside, the Metropolitan Theater is home to production shows, concerts and comedy sketches. MSC's goal in making the theater smaller than those on other ships was to create a more intimate experience with more flexibility for passengers. To that end, the line offers three nightly performances; there are six shows altogether, one for each night of the cruise, with three time slots of the same show each night.
The line has traditionally relied on jaw-dropping visual performances -- acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, magicians -- to avoid language barriers among its international passenger base. We're happy to report that MSC Seaside entertainment remains phenomenal.
The MSC Seaside casino is located on Deck 7, adjacent to the main theater. It offers a number of table games as well as slot machines. There are no smoking areas inside the casino.
The ship offers various activities throughout the day, including stretching and tai chi in the mornings, several different types of trivia, dance classes, foosball tournaments, scavenger hunts and art auctions.
MSC Seaside also has an impressive repertoire of extra-fee amusement games, including a self-leveling pool table and an arcade with a Formula One simulator, a 4D cinema, dual bowling lanes and an air hockey table.
Aside from theater productions, MSC Seaside offers live music and dancing in The Garage nightclub until the wee hours. The atrium is buzzing with passengers from early in the morning, and there are always live shows and contests to attend. This is also where themed parties are held on special nights.
The ship offers a couple dozen bars and lounges spread over several decks. Beyond the standard poolside and atrium bars, passengers can choose from a huge range of other spots to drink, including quiet lounges with panoramic ocean views, and hopping drinking holes open until the wee hours.
MSC Seaside drink packages are a good option if you expect to have more than a couple of beers per day. Plans range from those that only include alcohol-free drinks to premium all-inclusive packages. (If one person in the cabin purchases a package, everyone in the cabin must purchase one.)
Seaside Bar (Deck 5): The Seaside Bar sits at the base of the ship's four-deck central atrium, making it a great location for an embarkation-day drink or a pre-dinner cocktail. Its backdrop is a trio of giant LED screens showcasing a rotating selection of videos.
Shine Bar (Deck 6): Found on the second level of the ship's atrium, this centrally located watering hole is, like the Seaside Bar, perfect for pre-dinner drinks. What's special about it is the amount of chrome used throughout. Its intent is to catch the sun's rays as they come through the floor-to-ceiling windows that surround the bar, giving it a glistening appearance.
Venchi 1878 Chocolate Bar (Deck 6): This sweet shop and coffee bar, one of two Venchi outposts onboard, also sells specialty cocktails like coffee martinis and "Chocolate and Bubbles" -- prosecco with chocolate and truffles.
Champagne Bar (Deck 7): On the third deck of the ship's atrium is the Champagne Bar, a bright and elegantly modern space with a white bar and stools, flanked by two smaller bar areas that can be booked for private tastings.
Garage Club (Deck 7): This 1950s diner-themed area boasts a bar, dance floor, jukebox, neon signage, vintage Gulf gas pump, high-top tables with chairs and a classic car that serves as a DJ booth. At night, it's the ship's disco. It has no set closing time, which means it stays open until everyone leaves. The DJ told us that's often as late -- or as early -- as 4 a.m.
Seaview Lounge (Deck 8): This quiet lounge with excellent sea views is frequently home base for daily activities. Just next door, a see-through broadcasting booth allows passersby to watch as the cruise director records the morning show.
Sports Bar (Deck 8): This bar offers drinks, added-fee finger food and semi-private booths with individual TV screens so groups can watch sporting events together. Walls are decorated with autographed memorabilia, adding to the vibe. More extensive than the offerings on most ships, the beer menu includes more than 30 different brews.
Top Sail Lounge (Deck 16): Those booked in MSC Yacht Club cabins have access to the two-deck Top Sail Lounge, a private lounge with free drinks and a restaurant on its upper level.
Miami Beach Bar (Deck 16): This bar is where you'll want to go for your ice cream fix. Priced a la carte, you can purchase by the scoop or can splurge on a sundae or milkshake. Also available is a full menu of cocktails,
MSC Seaside pools include one for general use, one for adults, one for families and one for Yacht Club cruisers.
The main pool is the Miami Beach Pool, which can get crowded. It's a zero-entry pool surrounded by a sizable sun deck with plenty of loungers and giant movie screen. At night, the pool is covered and transformed into a stage for outdoor entertainment.
There are three hot tubs nearby, as well as the Bridge of Sighs (a glass walkway that lets you see the ocean below).
The South Beach Pool overlooks the ship's wake and is reserved for passengers aged 16 and older. There are no hot tubs, but a small number of loungers is available. Note that the starboard side of this area allows smoking.
The Jungle Pool has a retractable roof and is close to the kids clubs, AquaVenture water park and entrance to the ship's zipline. There's also a nearby lounge area with chairs and foosball and Ping-Pong tables.
Finally, the MSC Yacht Club Pool on Deck 19 is for private use by cruisers booked in Yacht Club cabins. Cabanas are available on a first-come, first-served basis for an extra fee.
Pool towels are provided in cabins for passenger use. There is a fee for unreturned or missing towels.
The MSC Seaside zip line is located on Deck 19, adjacent to the water park. Passengers are suspended high above the ship’s water park and fly over the pools, the helipad and the sports court. There is a per-ride fee.
As part of its dedication to sailing in warm climates, Seaside has a huge, colorful water park area known as the Forest AquaVenture. The facility offers four water slides, including a standard water slide, two "racing" slides and a slide for slideboarding, where passengers use their boards to select colors that light up inside the slide as they glide through it (sort of like "Guitar Hero" or "Dance Dance Revolution").
Additionally, the water park also features a wading pool area with sprayers and fountains, and a giant climbing structure.
There’s no shortage of spots to grab a lounger and relax on MSC Seaside. The main pool is lined with deck chairs, as are the Jungle Pool and the 16-and-older South Beach Pool. Additionally, Deck 19 offers a few dozen loungers in the area closest to the water park.
Yacht Club passengers have access to exclusive sundecks that tend to be quieter than those open to everyone.
Those looking to enjoy the outdoors can also have an alfresco drink or meal at The Waterfront Boardwalk on Deck 8.
MSC Seaside has the following services onboard:
Guest services desk (self-service kiosks available to set up onboard accounts)
Future cruise desk
Business center (no internet cafe or printer for passenger use)
Wi-Fi; Internet packages available for a fee
Shore excursions desk
Library and billiard room (with for-fee self-leveling pool table)
Shops (toiletries, candy, duty-free, MSC-branded items)
Washing and pressing services (added cost; no self-service launderettes)
The MSC Seaside spa, Aurea Spa, takes up a good amount of real estate on Deck 8. It has 24 treatment rooms for services like massages and facials, and shares space with hair and nail salons, a tanning booth and a barber shop featuring men's services.
Seaside’s massive extra-fee thermal suite is the spa's highlight, featuring dark and light sensory steam rooms, saunas, a salt relaxation room, aromatherapy, a thalassotherapy pool and a cold room with real snow. Passes are required and can be purchased by day or for the entire cruise.
Just outside of the spa is a private sun deck for use exclusively by passengers who have booked spa treatments. It features lounge chairs and two whirlpools. You'll also find spa cabanas for rent (extra fee, treatment included).
MSC Seaside prices are higher than comparable spa treatments you’d find on land but average by industry standards. Port-day discounts are not offered, but you'll find a variety of promotions throughout the cruise, as well as discounts for multiple massage reservations.
The large, well-equipped gym on MSC Seaside has partnered with Technogym to offer weight and cardio machines, and equipment like heavy bags and rings. Each passenger must sign a waiver to work out.
We love the amount of open space. Because not every square inch is crammed with equipment, it's easy to find areas to do body weight movements without having to wait until the aerobics studio is empty. Added-fee classes such as yoga, spin and boxing are all available, as is personal training.
Just off the gym are separate men's and women's locker rooms with showers, changing areas, lockers, toilets and saunas.
MSC Seaside has great offerings for families, including excellent kids programming, plus four water slides, a bowling alley and arcade games.
Group babysitting services are offered late at night for kids 3 and older for an extra fee. In-cabin babysitting are not available.
The kids’ club has five age groups: Baby Club (12 to 35 months), Mini Club (3 to 6), Juniors Club (7 to 11), Young Club (12 to 14) and Teen Club (15 to 17).
Thanks to partnerships with LEGO and Chicco, the kids’ club is equipped with great toys. MSC mascot Doremi and friends make appearances.
The light, airy Baby Time space provides a large selection of Chicco toys geared toward the youngest cruisers. They include light-and-sound sensory playsets, as well as ring toss games and mini-soccer nets that aim to improve coordination. Activities might be mini-Olympics and baby chef cooking classes (for 2 to 3 year olds). And, when they're all tired out, there are plenty of playpens for naptime.
Mini Club encompasses several LEGO Duplo play spaces, in addition to soft climbing structures. Activities for this age group might include music and color games, indoor dodgeball, volleyball, arts and crafts, DJ dance parties and superhero nights.
In the Juniors Club, several colorful LEGO building areas keep kids occupied. They can even create their own LEGO blocks using a trio of design stations and a 3D printer. (The process takes about 24 hours, so it's not possible for every child to make a block, meaning kids must work together each time a new one is created.)
Other activities: arts and crafts, sports, PlayStation 4 gaming competitions, sing-alongs and game shows in a shared theater area, which includes a stage for kid-run performances.
Family activities -- such as Olympic games, treasure hunts and disco nights -- are also offered for these age groups.
MSC has nailed the Young Club and Teen Club pre-teen and teen spaces, which are the epitome of cool. This hard-to-please crowd will find lively decor with plenty of board games, foosball tables, virtual reality simulators, a dance floor, porthole window seats for sea views and comfy chairs with tables for hanging out.
The area also contains an interactive touchscreen table that allows for quick and easy sharing of selfies and the creation of customized music playlists. Scheduled activities for these groups might include video game and Ping-Pong tournaments, karaoke competitions, lip sync battles, treasure hunts and battle of the sexes-type games.
* May require additional fees